Buyers from as far away as China are looking to dismantle and remove paper recycling lines from the former Aylesford Newsprint plant.
The huge factory near Maidstone, Kent, closed when the company entered administration last February.
W&S Recycling has been appointed by administrator KPMG to remove all machinery and materials from the 100-acre site, after which the buildings will be demolished.
Tony Knowles, W&S commercial director, told MRW: “We have people from China, Egypt and other places coming to see if they want to buy machinery.
“The two lines are 100m long and the rolls are 100 tonnes-odd – they look like something from Star Wars and it will be a huge job to get them out.”
Knowles said Aylesford had found it impossible to adapt the machines economically for paper types now demanded by UK customers, “but they could be used in other countries or they may think it’s worthwhile to alter them”.
Once any machinery has been sold, W&S must find outlets for the vast pile of metal that will remain. It intends to appoint a metals merchant to factor all ferrous and non-ferrous material removed.
Knowles said: “We’ve got 24 months to get all that kit out and its tens of thousands of tonnes of metal. We can store it – there is no shortage of storage space – but after 24 month it will have to go somewhere.”
Copper wire and steel cladding are likely to be sold for reuse rather than recycled.
Certain site buildings which are suitable for disassembly, shipment and reassembly will also be available for sale. W&S will appoint a specialist demolition contractor because the buildings are expected to yield a huge quantity of construction waste, though this can only economically be transported up to 100 miles.
“It is prime land for housing, so some could be used for that and there are large basements to fill in with it,” Knowles said.
Aylesford produced on average 400,000 tonnes of recycled newsprint from 500,000 tonnes of recycled waste fibre annually and recorded a turnover of £139m in 2013.
Its closure was blamed on overcapacity in the newsprint market, coupled with rise of digital media in preference to print.